Friday, March 1, 2013

Smoke Eaters 3 Vees 2 (OT)

The cardiac Smokies struck again, silencing South Okanagan supporters with a 3-2 overtime triumph Friday in Penticton.

Valik Chichkin played OT hero for the third time this season, as Trail nipped the Vees for the second time in 6 days in front of almost 2,600 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

It was another game that could have gone either way, but the Smokies again found their groove in 3-on-3 extra time, collecting their tenth overtime win of the season.

Penticton struck first on a nifty one-timer from Wade Murphy 7:20 into the first. Murphy shot from the slot, while being hit after a crisp Louie Nanne feed from the right-wing wall.

But the Smokies answered back minutes later on a power-play. Penticton native Tyler Berkholtz found a loose puck in front of the net and lifted a back-hand shot over the shoulder of Vees netminder Chad Katunar.

The two teams traded chances in the second period, perhaps none better than a pair of acrobatic saves from Adam Todd off Michael Rebry and John Siemer seconds apart from point-blank range. Trail's Brent Baltus was thwarted at the other end on no fewer than three odd-man rushes.

Trail found themselves with another power-play early in the third, and captain Garrett McMullen made it pay off. The 20 year-old roofed a puck past Katunar for his 20th goal of the season, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.

But the Vees would answer back after persistent pressure in front of the Trail goal. This time, Rebry converted on a Siemer pass from behind the net, scoring from just outside the blue paint.

The Smokies needed to secure points, and managed to earn a single one through 60 minutes despite being outshot 11-6 in period three.

The Vees then were caught with too many men in 4-on-4 play, but Trail could not capitalize.

It came to 3-on-3 play, and the visitors found their groove yet again. Baltus and Luke Sandler criss-crossed in the high slot with the puck bouncing on to the trailing Chichkin, who wired home his sixth goal of the year sending the Smokies bench into a frenzy.

Trail briefly moved into sole possession of fourth place, but after completion of play Friday find themselves back on level terms with the SilverBacks after Salmon Arm rallied to win 6-5 in Powell River.

My Three Stars:
1. Adam Todd, Trail
2. Michael Rebry, Penticton
3. Tyler Berkholtz, Trail

Up Next: another round with the Vees goes Saturday at Cominco Arena. There's no reason for tomorrow's game not to have the biggest crowd of the season so far.

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

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